News / Health

Study: Health Disparities 'Could be Eliminated in a Generation'

FILE - A man, who did not want to be identified, lies in a ward that specializes in AIDS treatment at a hospital in Dakar, Senegal.
FILE - A man, who did not want to be identified, lies in a ward that specializes in AIDS treatment at a hospital in Dakar, Senegal.
Reuters
Health disparities between rich and poor nations could be banished in a generation by investment in research, vaccines and drugs to combat diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, global health experts said on Tuesday.
 
In a report setting out a plan for a “grand convergence” in health, the experts said world leaders needed to press for a concerted increase in research and development (R&D) investment to develop new medicines, vaccines and health technologies.
 
“For the first time in human history, we are on the verge of being able to achieve a milestone for humanity: eliminating major health inequalities...so that every person on earth has an equal chance at a healthy and productive life,” said Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary who co-chaired a commission on global health.
 
The report also recommended taking bold preventative steps in public health, such as increasing taxes on tobacco and other substances that can be harmful, like alcohol and sugar.
 
Taking China as an example, it said a 50 percent tax on tobacco could prevent 20 million premature deaths and generate an extra $20 billion annually over the next 50 years.
 
Summers said effective drugs and vaccines now available “make reaching this milestone affordable” and urged world leaders to take on what he called “our generation's unique opportunity to invest in making this vision real”.
 
The report, called “Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation” was written by 25 leading international health experts and economists, chaired by Summers, of Harvard University, and published in The Lancet health journal.
 
It said spending should be prioritized in key areas, including aggressively scaling up new and existing medicines and policies for HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and maternal and child health.
 
The report's authors said that if their recommendations were followed, roughly 10 million lives could be saved in low-income and middle-income countries in the year 2035 alone - progress that would bring enormous social and economic gains for the countries most affected.
 
To get to such a point, global investment in R&D needs to be at least doubled, the experts said, from around $3 billion a year now to $6 billion by 2020. Half of that increased investment would need to come from middle-income countries.
 
“The role of international assistance, while still vital, is going to increasingly emphasize scientific research, provide templates and models that can be emulated, and focus on development of techniques and dissemination of information,” Summers said in a statement issued with the report.
 
He said while aid would remain critical it should become “less about financial support to individual countries and more about the provision of global public goods”.
 
Richard Horton, The Lancet's editor and another of the report's authors, said the world should recognize that investing in health is also an investment in prosperity, social and financial protection, and national security.
 
“Investing in health means investing in a quality human beings value deeply, but which we do not capture well in our usual measures of development,” he said.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs